The not-for-profit Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF), founded in 1965, as an affiliate of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, has announced that the recipient of this year’s Breakout Award is Brooklyn-based choreographer Jenn Rose. The annual honor, which recognizes a “rising star” moment in the Off-Broadway arena, is given to an SDC Member for a production or selection of work that signals a shift in a career, the beginning of critical recognition, and/or the point of a breakthrough in pushing the medium forward.
As a result of the ongoing pandemic closure of live in-person theater, the Breakout Award for the 2019-20 season was specifically designated to acknowledge a director or choreographer who created innovative or exciting digital work over the last year. Rose is being recognized for both her choreography and direction of A Little Light, created in March 2020, in response to the industry shutdown necessitated by COVID-19. The acclaimed original piece, running 3 minutes and 35 seconds, is a presentation of Loose Screws Productions, a collaborative company that Rose founded, committed to creating short films with a focus on storytelling through movement.
An award-winning choreographer in theater, concert dance, and film, Jenn is known for her fearless approach to working, striving for innovation, and collaboration. In addition to her work with Loose Screws, she has choreographed over 20 regional theater productions, including Arden Theatre Company’s Cabaret, 11th Hour Theatre Company’s Avenue X, and Theatre Horizon’s Black Nativity, all in the greater Philadelphia theater community (where she received a Barrymore Award for Excellence), and Honk!, at Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ.
Breakout Award committee member Anne Kaufmann said, “The committee is delighted to recognize Jenn Rose as this year’s recipient of the SDCF Breakout Award. Jenn has long been working in the digital performance space, choreographing and making dance videos for the past several years. Her brilliant and moving piece A Little Light was created at the beginning of the industry shutdown and brought the innovative work she’s been doing to a broader audience. We are thrilled to be able to lift up her work with this Award.”
Jenn tells me that, “Being recognized with the Breakout Award is a huge surprise and an incredible honor. When I created A Little Light in March, I found myself trying to find my way in the dark. So I asked some friends to connect with me the only way we could to shine ‘A Little Light.’”
Along with the Breakout Award, the SDCF Awards, hosted by Jack O’Brien, with a script by Sarah Bierstock, will include the presentation of the Joe A. Callaway Awards to Danya Taymor for outstanding direction of Heroes of the Fourth Turning (Playwrights Horizons) and Travis Wall for outstanding choreography in The Wrong Man (MCC Theater); the Gordon Davidson Award to Seret Scott for lifetime achievement and distinguished service in regional theater; and the Zelda Fichandler Award to Kamilah Forbes for transforming the national arts landscape with her unique creative work and deep investment in community. O’Brien, Sam Gold, Susan Stroman, and Camille A. Brown will serve as presenters, and the event will also feature appearances by Benny Sato Ambush, Pamela Berlin, Mark Brokaw, Neel Keller, Dan Knechtges, and Bill Rauch.
The 4th annual Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation Awards ceremony will be presented virtually on Monday, February 8, at 8 pm. Viewing is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the SDCF website; to register for tickets, and to receive an access link (which will be sent to registrants before the event begins), go online.